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49ers Fans Show Deep Love for Team and Community, Despite Another Super Bowl Loss to Chiefs

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Cesar Nisthal watches the San Francisco 49ers play in Super Bowl LVIII against the Kansas City Chiefs at a block party at the 'Faithful House' in San Francisco on Feb. 11, 2024. (Beth LaBerge/KQED)

49ers fans who dreamed of watching their team end their Super Bowl drought after 29 years were sorely disappointed Sunday night as the Kansas City Chiefs came from behind in the final seconds of a nail-biting overtime to eke out a 25–22 win.

“Losing sucks,” said Cyril Hackett, owner of The Kezar Pub, an iconic San Francisco sports bar located across the street from Kezar Stadium, the 49ers first home. “It’s really disappointing, disappointing for all the fans, and Brock Purdy, too, because, oh, the Niners were so close.”

San Francisco 49ers fan Madonna Caballes anxiously watches the closing minutes of the Super Bowl between the San Francisco 49ers and the Kansas City Chiefs at the Biggest Big Game Bash watch Party in Downtown Las Vegas on Feb. 11, 2024. (Martin do Nascimento/KQED)

For many, Sunday’s defeat was all the more devastating as it comes just four years after the 49ers’ last Super Bowl appearance when they lost to the very same team.

“We fell short. We should have won,” said Paul Marsland as he stood among fellow crestfallen fans at Kezar Pub. “Zero doubt in my mind we had that game. I’m hurtin’ right now. No words. No words.”

49ers fans at Pop’s Bar in San Francisco’s Mission District watch tense moments in the 4th quarter of the Super Bowl on Sunday. (Beth LaBerge/KQED)

Vishaal Rupani said he hoped to bring the 49ers some luck by watching the game here at the crowded pub. “I’ve been supporting the 49ers forever, since 30 years ago,” he said. “You know, I put my heart and soul into supporting the local team.”

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Dan Nguyen said he had come here, to Kezar Pub, two weeks earlier to watch the 49ers engineer a dramatic fourth-quarter comeback to defeat the Detroit Lions in the NFC Championship game.

“You see one win here, man, you don’t leave,” said Nguyen. “It’s a vibe, bro. We’re hanging out right across from where the greats used to play at Kezar Stadium and there’s something special about that, you know, and I’m superstitious too.”

Man with glasses cheers inside a bar.
Kyle Mackey, 27, of Santa Cruz, cheers while watching the Super Bowl inside The Kezar Pub in San Francisco on Sunday. ‘I just wish my grandfather, Fred Esparza, was here,’ he says. ‘He was a big ‘ol fan.’ (Florence Middleton/KQED)

Duncan Laird was among the throngs of fans who piled into the Connecticut Yankee bar in San Francisco’s Potrero Hill neighborhood to watch the game. Laird said he was a little kid the last time the 49ers won the Super Bowl, in 1995, and remembers watching it at his dad’s office downtown.

“I was there watching it with my dad, you know, almost 6 years old,” he said. “I’ve been waiting 29 years for that next win, man.”

Longtime 49ers fan Daniel Gutierrez was at the Connecticut Yankee, too, where he also saw the same two teams face off for the championship in 2020. “When you have the Chiefs against you, it’s hard,” he said. “Patrick Mahomes is just a better quarterback, so I’m really hoping they don’t win. I’m rooting for the Niners.”

Man wearing a hat and football jersey sits on the stoop of a home
Leroy Bermudez sits on the stoop of his house, known as the Faithful House, during a Super Bowl block party on Sunday. (Beth LaBerge/KQED)

Well before kickoff on Sunday, the block party in front of Leroy Bermudez’s house in the Mission District — known as “The Faithful House” for its red and gold paint job — was already in full swing.

49ers fans cheer at a Super Bowl block party Sunday hosted in front of the red and gold Faithful House in the Mission. (Beth LaBerge/KQED)

“This is not just a Super Bowl party,” said Bermudez. “This is a celebration of the Mission community. Even if they were to lose today, I won in a way because the people [here] taking pictures, they’re grasping memories. There’s little kids coming here, and they’ll be like, ‘Wow, I’ve never seen this.’ They’re blown away.”

For many fans, Sunday’s game was about reminiscing about past victories — and defeats — and connecting with family members, friends and the larger 49ers community.

49ers fan José Acosta cheers at the Faithful House block party in the Mission District on Sunday. ‘It’s in my blood,’ he says about supporting the team. ‘It’s in our bloodline, my whole family, my mother, my father, my brother, sister, my dog, my cat, everybody. We’re Niner fans at heart.’

José Acosta, 54, who was enjoying The Faithful House block party, said he has many childhood memories of the 49ers when they last reigned supreme. “The Joe Montana plays, all the Jerry Rice, Roger Craig [plays], all them, you know, I can just keep going on. That was my era,” he said.

Acosta said rooting for the 49ers is very much a family affair.

49ers fan Bertha Yepez and her 1-year-old grandson Julio dance at a block party in the Mission District during Usher’s Super Bowl 58 halftime show. (Beth LaBerge/KQED)

“It’s in my blood, in our bloodline, my whole family, my mother, my father, my brother, sister, my dog, my cat, everybody,” he said. “We’re Niner fans at heart. It’s in our blood.”

This story includes reporting by KQED’s Azul Dahlstrom-Eckman, Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez and Juan Carlos Lara.

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